The chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Oyo State chapter, Ayodeji Abass-Aleshinloye, has alleged that supporters of Governor Seyi Makinde and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, are after his life as a result of his resistance to the dissolution of the local government councils by the governor.
In a letter written to the police by his legal team, Newspeak gathered that Abass-Aleshinloye, who was chairman of Oluyole Local Government Area before the dissolution said threats to his life began on May 30, 2019, after he addressed a press conference where he insisted that he and his colleagues remain in office until the courts say otherwise.
He said after the conference, strange persons suspected to be supporters of the governor and his party the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) came to attack him in his office, forcing him to escape through a different route.
He said strange men also trailed him on two different occasions after speaking on radio programmes.
The letter reads: “Ever since the press conference, our client is being trailed and is worried because of the persistent threat to his life and safety.
“In view of the above we most humbly implore you to investigate our client’s complaint and take all necessary lawful steps to avert the threats to our client’s safety and life.
“We also wish to state that nothing untoward should happen to our client as we will hold the Executive Governor of Oyo State liable for any harm occasioned by any attacks on our client by the supporters the Governor of Oyo State.
We also hereby request you to provide adequate security for our client in order to protect him from all the threats issued by the supporters and members of sPeoples Democratic Party in Oyo State.”
Recall that Governor Makinde ordered the dissolution of the councils on May 29, hours after he was sworn in. In a statement issued later by his Chief of Staff (CoS), Chief Bisi Ilaka, the governor said the election that produced the council chairmen was conducted in defiance to a court order stopping the process which held May 12, 2018.
But the chairmen have described their sack as an act of illegality given the fact that they were democratically elected and that a May 6, 2019 Oyo State High Court judgment had also restrained the state government and its representatives or agencies from dissolving the councils or freezing the bank accounts of the councils, among others.
The court held that dissolution of elected council chairmen and other officers by the state government or the House of Assembly is contrary to Section 7(1) of the 1999 constitution as amended.
Meanwhile, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr Taiwo Adisa have rubbished claims by the council bosses, saying that “there are strong suspicion that all the orchestrated campaigns are meant to distract the smooth take-off of the new administration but we will not be distracted.”
The CPS also gave legal reasons why the governments insists that the council chairmen remain sacked.
His words: “Let me state that the government of the Oyo State committed no illegality in dissolving the councils. Rather, the government took the step in defence of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The laws say that you cannot create local governments by whatever name called, without a recourse to constitutional procedures.
“The immediate past state government went ahead to create LCDAs in total disregard for the constitution. They also jointly conducted elections into the recognised councils and the LCDAs the same day. By that singular act, they have tainted the elections conducted into the 33 local governments with illegality. You cannot mix apple and oranges together and call it a basket of apples or a basket of oranges. So the state is out to stop the illegality.
“Also, remember that the council chairmen were guilty of what lawyers call forum shopping in trying to vacate the injunction that was issued to stop the conduct of the elections by rushing to a different court to get an order.
“A court of coordinate jurisdiction cannot vacate an injunction issued by its peer. It is an aberration in law and a violation of the law of natural justice. The state government cannot close its eyes and allow the perpetuation of judicial karate in the name of politics. So the Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde, had to announce the dissolution of the councils to ensure sanity and to bring everyone to the path of constitutionality.
“Let me, however, state that the government will not condone any form of brigandage on this issue.
“The constitution states that you cannot create local government areas without recourse to the National Assembly. If you do that, it is inchoate like the Supreme Court said in the case of Lagos state. So when you do something like that and conduct elections into the councils, you have violated the constitution ab initio.”